Technological advances make cybersecurity the primary goal for organisations, large or small. It is imperative for businesses to continuously assess security loopholes and be on the lookout for threats so that they can successfully safeguard their data. With proliferating cyber attacks, the need of the hour is to look at strong, proactive, and foresighted measures to address inherent security vulnerabilities before hackers can exploit them. 

So, in 2023, what are the key focus areas that organisations need to look into in order to mitigate attacks and deter threats? 

  1. Attacks on IoT/5G infrastructure: With 5G speeds finally becoming a reality and smart buildings, embedded sensors, smart automobiles, and homes becoming a phenomenon, there is a high probability that we will be hearing a lot about IoT being the focal point for cyber attacks. This is especially true because security is hardly a priority for vendors selling some of these smart devices. These become highly vulnerable entry points for malicious actors who can gain insider access to any target organisation.
  2. AI’s role in attacker strategy: With AI cyber market predicted to cross the US $125 billion mark soon, one thing that can be predicted with absolute certainty is that attackers will use concepts like AI, Machine Learning, Deep Learning, and Bayesian mathematics to predict their next moves. And, some of these attacks will be executed at quantum speeds. In such scenarios, it will become critical for businesses to use machine learning-driven solutions to protect their endpoints, apps, cloud infrastructure, networks, mobiles, etc.
  3. Alliance of state-sponsored/nation-state attacks: With data being the new oil and cyber being the new most valuable weapon, cyberspace will be the new battleground. 2023 is likely to be the year in which cyber attacks will play a critical part in the nation and state strategies to take down their prospective enemies and businesses. Safeguarding against nation-state attacks will require detailed assessment and advancement of current cybersecurity protections, including people, processes, and technologies.
  4. Cyber harm as a tangible concept: With organisations understanding the impact of cyber security on the longevity and sustainability of businesses, the concept of cyber harm will become stronger. Cyber Harm is a universal metric that converges both the short and long-term impact of a breach spanning across financial, regulatory, reputational, strategic, personal, physical and any other intangible losses connected to a large attack. For example, the Ashley Madison breach in 2015 not only created problems for the company, but also led to a lot of suicides, separations, and other personal challenges. Cyber Harm has the potential to become a key measure of understanding the veracity of a breach in 2023.
  5. Supply chain attacks: With loads of cloud-native tech stacks, open-source libraries, and multitudes of vendors, attacks on the Supply Chain, both technical and functional, will become more prominent. Taking control of the entire software bill of material, protecting all libraries and images, rotating keys and credentials, and following a least privileged approach will become pivotal in protecting against these attacks.
  6. Security-aware culture: 2023 has the potential to bring in a more security-aware culture in which all employees and users will start understanding the pertinence of cybersecurity in a more actionable way by knowing that ransomware, DDoS attacks, or any other type of cyber attacks can be avoided if everyone plays a small part in being security conscious and takes necessary steps to avoid falling into the attacker’s trap. Nurturing a culture of cybersecurity awareness should ideally be at the core of organisational strategy if businesses want to build resilience and stay cyber-safe in the coming year. 

A well-rounded cybersecurity strategy for 2023 and beyond will include having visibility into attack vectors and behaviors as well as a broader understanding of the impact of a possible attack. From taking proactive threat prevention steps, ensuring security of the entire software development ecosystem via live threat detection to building cyber resilience through real-life attack simulation, the focus areas for organisations to stay cyber-safe are many. In addition to this, investing in training of employees, partners, and vendors is imperative as they are the first line of defense against potential attacks. In a nutshell, the cybersecurity landscape is rapidly changing and with many organisations orchestrating their digital transformation journey, the risks are real. In the midst of this, businesses that stay agile and safeguard their security environment will be one step ahead of attackers. 

About the Author

Dhruv Gupta, Director – Cybersecurity at Accolite Digital.

This article was originally published in the Times of India.

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